Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Paws for Kids, Fortalice and local voluntary and community groups YES Matters and Arts for You are joining forces to mark ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’ through a series of exhibitions and events.
‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’, runs from November 25 to December 10 and seeks to raise awareness of gender violence as a human rights issue.
On November 25, the exhibition ‘These Hands are Not For Hurting’, will open in the Paws for Kids shop on Corporation Street. Paws for Kids is a local charity which works with high risk victims of domestic abuse, offers a safe haven for these victims and offers a temporary fostering service for pets of these victims.
‘These Hands are Not For Hurting’ is both a plea and a pledge against gender violence. Artist Dani Gains from Arts for You has worked with women’s groups across Bolton including Christine Partington House, New Bury Craft group, New Bury Writing Group, Wonder Women, Cawdor St, Golden Girls, Bolton Parish School, Meadowside, Foxes of the Fold, BRASS, Great Lever Connected, Fortalice, Safehaven, and Farnworth Parent’s Group. Women from these groups have created 150 pieces of art around the themes of hands, which will be displayed in the shop until December 10.
Another art project which has been developed by YES Matters, a local voluntary organisation, is ‘High Heels’, which will be displayed on the first floor of Market Place Shopping Centre on December 2. The exhibition will include 160 pairs of high heels, one for each domestic violence related death in the UK this year. YES Matters are also organising a ‘Reclaim the Streets’ march in central Bolton, to highlight women’s right to be free from sexual harassment and violence, whatever their clothing. This march will leave from the Eagle Tower at the University of Bolton at 7.30pm on December 6.
Finally, YES Matters is also working with Bolton University on the ‘Tree of Promise’, an eight foot tall tree sculpture, which will be displayed on December 10 – the final day of the campaign. The tree sculpture will be displayed at Bolton Central Library from 10am and local people will be encouraged to make a pledge to working towards ending violence against women by writing a comment on a piece of paper which will be hung from the tree to represent a leaf.
November 25 is also White Ribbon Day, which is part of an international movement run by men to eradicate violence against women. The Mayor of Bolton, councillors, senior council officers and colleagues from partner organisations including GMP and Bolton at Home will be wearing a white ribbon on this day to show their support for this campaign.
Councillor Derek Burrows, Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “Violence against women is completely unacceptable and we are working with our partners to end it completely. We hope that the White Ribbon Campaign will encourage more men to condemn domestic violence and take a stand against it, whilst the art exhibitions will hopefully raise awareness and encourage more women to come forward and report domestic violence and receive the appropriate support.”
Caroline Tosal-Suprun, community development officer and women’s worker for Bolton at Home, said: “Violence against women is a global and societal problem affecting women and girls form all cultures and backgrounds. The events and workshops we are holding are all about giving women a voice, showing solidarity, and being part of a wider support network.”
Carole Marsden, Project Manager from Paws for Kids said: “Paws for Kids helps local people and their pets escape violence and abuse. We rely heavily on the generosity of the local community and individuals who donate what they can to help people and their beloved pets build a brighter future.
“Our shop is a perfect hub for the work we will be doing in connection with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign and I would urge shoppers to come and see the exhibition we will have here as well as making the most of all the great things we have on offer to buy here.”
Gemma Aitchison of YES Matters said: “Domestic violence is completely wrong, but unfortunately, there are still many deaths related to domestic violence across the UK every year. We hope that these exhibitions, art projects and marches will inspire people across Bolton to work with us to end this type of violence.”